NSA plot thickens

Amber Porter

Once again, Edward Snowden has brought America to the forefront of international controversy. When he leaked intelligence on the National Security Administration’s actions, the international community saw that America has been spying on leaders of not only our enemies, but also our allies. Over the past week, it has come out that the NSA bugged German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal phones. French President François Hollande has planned to hold bilateral talks with the U.S. and Germany over these programs by the end of the year. President Hollande, and now Spain, is frustrated over reports of the collection of their residents’ data.

President Obama, once again, claims he was unaware of the surveillance on these 35 world leaders. The White House is saying it ended these programs once it was aware of them. It has also stated that an internal and external audit of the system is taking place. Unfortunately, some of the officials in this oversight are a lot closer to the situation than an unbiased observer might be. The NSA stated that it has so many eavesdropping operations that it would not have been pragmatic to brief the President on all of them. It also stated that these decisions on who to spy on are made by the NSA and are not signed off by the president.

Honestly, this is ridiculous. Where did the president think his intelligence came from before meeting with these officials? Both the director and deputy of NSA are planning to step down in coming months, which will more than likely complicate the review processes. I know that there are many moving parts in this equation, but the fact that they are spying without the president’s approval flabbergasts me. Now that the president is aware, these programs are supposedly being phased out, but how can we believe them?

On Dec. 15, the investigating group plans to release an unclassified report. Hopefully, it will have more information and not add more questions. More oversight is obviously needed than just letting NSA officials make decisions on what they believe the president and administration want or need to know.